Browser Daily Newsletter 1329

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

A Linguist On The Story Of Gendered Pronouns

Gretchen McCullough | The Toast | 2nd June 2014

Smart, funny, and full of gems. The singular 'they' is perfectly OK. "Algonquian languages have two gender-nonspecific third-singular markers: one for whichever person is more central to the conversation, and the other for additional people that don’t matter as much, a system known as obviation. It’s probably unfeasible to adopt this system into other languages, but some days I really want to" (3,000 words)

Turn A Good Proposal Into An Excellent Proposal

Hope Jahren | 2nd June 2014

Written with academic proposals in mind, but good advice for drafting anything meant to persuade. "After you write anything, go back and replace all qualitative statements with quantitative ones. Knowing and showing the numbers is basically the only thing that separates a Scientist from a Guy Selling Vitamins At The Mall. Both callings have their place, but government agencies are better oriented towards funding the former" (2,000 words)

Those Who Frighten China

Jiayang Fan | New Yorker | 31st May 2014

After a double car-bombing kills 43 in Urumqi, apparently the work of Islamist radicals, China comes to terms with domestic terrorism, to which it may be peculiarly susceptible: "The only way to truly wage war on the state is to alarm the majority — to shake their faith in the state and its ability to protect any of its citizens adequately, thereby undermining the legitimacy of a regime that has left its minorities so little recourse" (780 words)

Four Myths About The Great War Of 1914-1918

Mark Harrison | Vox EU | 2nd June 2014

It wasn't inadvertent: "The decisions that began the Great War show agency, calculation, foresight, and backward induction". The slaughter was deliberate strategy by all sides. Nobody starved Germany; Germany starved itself. And the Versailles Treaty reparations didn't ruin Germany, because Germany didn't pay them. The Great Depression was the more important factor in Hitler's rise to power (1,640 words)

Helping China To Fight Global Warming

Noah Smith | Bloomberg View | 2nd June 2014

Obama's proposed rules to clean up US coal-fired power plants are wise and affordable. But most new carbon emission happens in China. The next stage is for America to encourage China to cut back, which America can do in two main ways: First, transfer fracking technology to China, so China can use more domestic natural gas; second, tax carbon-intensive imports, to give China's factories a hard nudge (890 words)

Jimmy Iovine: The Man With The Magic Ears

David Fricke | Rolling Stone | 12th April 2012

From the archives. Retrospective interview with Jimmy Iovine, legendary record producer, label boss, Beats founder. He started out engineering for John Lennon, with Phil Spector producing. Things went quiet. Then they livened up again: "Roy calls me: 'There's a guy at the Hit Factory. They just threw him out. His name is Bruce Springsteen, and he wants to come to our studio'. I'm 21 and I have my second client" (h/t Longreads ( ) (6,500 words)

Video of the day:  John Oliver Explains Net Neutrality

What to expect: Late-night comedy TV show extract

Thought for the day:

"Losers have goals. Winners have systems" — Scott Adams

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